Obedient, cheerful robots are making us terrible at relationships

In an age of increasing isolation—for the elderly as well as their younger peers—robotic companions are being marketed as a way to fulfill the emotional needs of lonely humans. To date, however, much of robot design has avoided incorporating the challenging dynamics of social relationships into their products’ functionalities. From virtual assistants to robotic pets, tech companies are offering up endlessly compliant, cheerful companions that allow us to avoid the vulnerability, discomfort, and confrontation that so often accompanies our human interactions.

Courtney Maum

Old models

What were your teachers like at school? Did you enjoy being taught by them? Did they inspire you? Did they bring out the best in you? Or do you think they were inadequate as teachers? Did your teachers shape your view and outlook on life after you left school? Is there still something about what they have taught you that still sticks with you? Did you ever meet your old teachers again later on in life? Are you a teacher and do you try and model yourself on a favourite teacher?

J (Joe) at TinyBuddha.com

Old trends

For many centuries, Asia was both the center of the world’s textile production and the source of its fashion trends. India, in particular, was responsible for the largest share of textile production and for much of the finest kinds of cloth. Indian manufacturers had sophisticated methods for weaving cotton into light, breathable textiles, and vibrant, long-lasting dyes that gave these fabrics dazzling colors.

Blake Smith | qz.com

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